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    Kerem Durukan’s Colors Full of Life

    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü, Photo: Ezgi Turan

    The first thing that comes to mind about Kerem Durukan is, without doubt, the bold range of colors in his vibrant compositions full of energy. We had a pleasant conversation with Durukan, who received education in several creative fields including painting, graphic design and industrial design, and combined elements from each with the simplicity that he found in primitive art.

    What are you up to these days? Can you tell us a bit about the projects you’re currently working on?

    I’ve been intensively working on two solo exhibition projects both of which will take place within this September. The first is a mini exhibition titled ‘’Shapes and Shades’’ at the orōro Sushi Bar in the third week of the month. In this show, we intend to present some vibrant paintings the viewers can relate to through abstract forms, shades and the concept of color. The second, on the other hand, will be a larger exhibition taking place at the Markus Prime Ribs Society in the final week of the same month and featuring my most recent Africa-inspired works with masks in them. I’m also simultaneously working on a few private projects on canvas.

    How did your artistic journey begin? How did you discover your passion? And how were you influenced by working in multiple disciplines?

    My answer will be a bit cliché but I have been painting for as long as I can remember. In my opinion, receiving education in various disciplines and particularly in communication and graphic design made me question right vs. wrong in addition to beautiful vs. ugly, and taught me to be more selective.

    Mask in Pride, acrylic on paper, 2018

    Mask in Pride, acrylic on paper, 2018

    In your works, elements from the African culture are highly pronounced. How did that happen? Have you ever been to Africa?

    Surprisingly, my interest in the subject owes much more to Marcel Breuer’s design known as the “Wassily Chair” than Africa’s geographic position. When I was in college, I selected this work as the subject of my assignment at my Design History class. It was incredibly fascinating for me to see that the modern and the ethnic could come together and become unified like this in the African chair during such a historical period. And thanks to the exhibition Modern Africa that I was part of in conjunction with the NoLab team, my interest grew further. Seeing the works of other participating artists made me focus on the subject even more deeply. As I find the motifs, colors and primitive forms of African culture very close to Minimalism, in my artistic practice I choose to reinterpret these from a modern point of view. I have never been to Africa, by the way. I wish I could go there some day.

    But I think Africa is not the only subject matter you express artistic interest in…

    You’re correct. Africa is a subject that I conducted research into, reflected about, and produced work on for a certain period of time. My artistic practice does not exclusively develop around the subject of Africa. I try to tackle a variety of subjects including gender and identity and to interpret them using my own minimalist, abstract style of expression.

    Your colors are so vibrant. How do you obtain them? Do you have a specific color palette?

    I don’t have one; I love colors very much and they are one of the essential elements of my oeuvre. I deeply enjoy exploring and inventing new forms of expression through the use of color.

    Some Plants in a Vase, acrylic on paper, 2018

    Some Plants in a Vase, acrylic on paper, 2018

    Artists that have been influential on you?

    It would be unfair to focus on the artists only. I’m also deeply influenced by some figures from other creative professions, including directors, designers, writers, musicians, actors and actresses. Within this context I can mention Matisse, Kandinsky, Chagall, Picasso, Tracey Emin, Gülsün Karamustafa, Hale Tenger, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Semiha Berksoy, Fikret Mualla, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Bülent Erkmen, Alexander McQueen, Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Maurizio Cattelan, Tilda Swinton, Charles Bukowski and many others.

    How about street art? Have you ever done art projects in public space?

    When I was in Berlin, we did a few graffiti murals. In the past, I often used to go out with my friends in Istanbul and paint; I don’t do that much often these days. In other words, my public art projects are limited to a few graffiti works for the moment.

    How did your paths cross with Art50.net? Your thoughts on online platforms?

    I met Art50.net thanks to my friend Aslı Özturan’s guidance; I’m thankful to her for this. It’s a team of very sweet people and I believe we will do great things together. Online platforms have gained importance as the internet became an indispensable part of our lives. I think that the artists can reach broader audiences, and the viewers can follow the artists more closely thanks to them.

    Your biggest dream for the future?

    This must be the hardest question; I would probably answer it differently at different times. But for the moment, I could say working at my peaceful studio near seaside, taking care of my garden and my plants, and feeding my animals!


    You may browse Kerem Durukan’s works in Art50.net’s gallery space here.